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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  December 23, 2015 9:00pm-9:31pm EST

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hour. thanks for watching, everybody. i'm david schuster. "ali velshi on target" is next. >> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight, countering i.s.i.l. how did these fighters get so powerful so fast? and what can america do to protect its people from their threat? follow the news and you 92 a small but steady stream of muslims are hell-bent on attacking america. the boston marathon bombing and is san bernardino shooting, both
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inspired by al qaeda and i.s.i.l. when and where are the next ones going to be? in truth throw law enforcement experts say home groups are present a bigger problem than radicalized groups overseas. nevertheless, the meteoric rise of i.s.i.l. has taken officials by surprise. nearly two years ago, heavily armed men waving black flags swept into fallujah. the same fallujah that americans fought over ten years ago. i.s.i.l. wasn't even part of the public lexicon then but the group has met as at metastasiz. in neighboring syria where plots attacks in the west. i.s.i.l, i.s.i.s, daesh, islamic state, whatever you want to call
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it, the group has now overtaken al qaeda as the biggest foreign terrorist threats in the minds of americans and that has law enforcement agencies scrambling to disrupt i.s.i.l. activity in this country. since early 201475 people have bee, 75 people havebeen arreste, and as many as 250 americans have gone or attempted to join i.s.i.l. in the territory i.t. controls in syria and iraq. for more on who these americans are and what kind of threat i.s.i.l. poses in the united states, mary snow has this report. >> reporter: who are the face he of i.s.i.l. in america? >> he was born in dallas in presbyterian hospital and we lived in garland. and it's just so ironic that this is where he would end up
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dying. >> reporter: in may 2015 phoenix arizona transplant nadir sufi and el don simpson, came to an art contest, mocking the prophet muhammed. >> supersmart, superintelligent, always very polite, insightful, thoughtful not radical in any way. >> just three months later, jalen and her husband were arrested for attempting to join i.s.i.l. in syria. >> they just started shooting and people were running everywhere. >> in december in san bernardino, california acknowledge syed farook massacred 14 of his co-workers with the aid of his wife,
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tashfeen malik. a minnesota marn and others were all charged with conspiring to help i.s.i.l. program on extremism at george washington university center for cyber and homeland security in america. >> thousand investigations now, in all 50 states. the level of scrovment runs a ia gamut. we have a few people who actually are in touch with the leadership of i.s.i.s. >> so far, 21 states have had at least one arrest within their borders. new york has had the highest number of cases followed by minnesota. >> you have such a heterogeneous background whether you have teenage girls and 40 yeerls men,
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you have graduate students and petty criminals. >> croorgd taccording to the st% were male, 81% were u.s. citizens. the majority 71% were not involved in plotting terrorist attacks in the u.s. they were arrested for intent to do harm overseas. but believes the terrorism focus could soon change. >> i.s.i.s. sent are word to stay home do something in their home countries. the fbi says there's a decrease in the number of individuals who want to go to iraq. it is a pattern we have seen. >> mary snowy, al jazeera. >> left marining think tank
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recently received a report, i.s.i.l. in the west the new faces of extremism. while he did not author the program itself, he joins me now from washington. douglas good to see you. thanks for being with us. >> pleasure. >> this report from the new america foundation breaks down the demographic profile of western i.s.i.l. fighters how is that different than past conflicts? >> not significantly different but more of them. the key difference between i.s.i.l. and the islamist extremist groups we have seen before, i.s.i.l. is dedicated to bring about the caliphate now, today, it exists in a 9 nacent
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way. >> waives, strays, va vag vagabe they still that same group of people who are seeking something? >> well, they're seeking something. now their motivations are very disparate. like joining any high commitment organization. their purposes are very different. not unlike joining the army or the marines. some people join because they really really believe in the mission, others are running away, some honestly just want to do something that shock their parents. there are some for whom if siel didn't exist they would join
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some sex cult in california. however there are others that are very dedicated. >> a lot has been made about social media, but this isn't particular revolutionary and largely modeled on other extremist methods and contaminate ticks. how is it they are striking a nerve where others haven't been able to do it in the past? >> i really think it is the immediacy, you can pick up and join afternoon active movement that's happening in iraq and syria. can you pick up and go to it. we haven't seen something like that since the '30s when you could join the spanish civil war. you could come up and join this which is, kind of be sell sympathetic with the movement bud hang out when you can.
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>> the advantage of talking to a guy like you, the military efforts at push back, that's one thing, that's a little bit different than this. this is about westernized you know people who have either been born here or made sentence of another country. they are are actually just a drop in the bucket as foreign fighters in europe coming to the united states from these so-called visa waiver countries. what can we be doing about that? >> it is very difficult to track, particularly if the european countries themselves did not know whether, a syria or eun visa, but it can be very, very hard to track. that's really the are so-called
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inspired terrorists, the ones who are inspired by i.s.i.l. to commit violence. we're not even sure to what degree i.s.i.l. regrets physically or primarilily involved. this becomes almost impossible to track. >> you're absolutely right. if a person goes on through turkey or le lebanon, we have a chance to pick that up. if they are smart enough to keep this to themselves or in the two metrics, whether it's the san bernardino married people, the proarts if you don't trust anyone that you don't trust
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essentially, how do you find these people when they've given no indication thought outside world at all that they intend to do this? >> fcc and of the dodz an so they are all about winning a war through messaging and winning the the hazard and minds of people. douglas, thank you for joining us. >> douglas olivant, senior fellow. meeting the threat head on the military options there are and are not on the table.
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>> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight, countering i.s.i.l. >> in a little more than two years i.s.i.l. has become a major player in the conflicts raging in the middle east. in that time the group has overtaken al qaeda as the biggest foreign terrorist threat in most americans. smuggling of oil mountain territory it controls in are syria and iraq. howard shatz is a senior economist at the think tank rand, studied organizational structure ever i.s.i.l. when it was still known as al qaeda in iraq. why it's able to maintain its start as the world's most
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affluent terrorist organization. i.s.i.l.'s got a ready source of revenue that does not depend as much on a donor network, does not depend on countries that give you money through the back door. they've got a bit of a business going. >> slu >> absolutely. they have always been that way. right now their revenue portfolio includes oil as you said and then also ex tors and d taxation much as a state would do. >> ransom, a major part of their revenue? >> ransom has always been a nontrivial but small part of it. nothing compared to extortion, oil, money they stole from banks whether they took over cities throughout iraq and syria. >> you have estimated last year
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that i.s.i.l. produced over 150,000 barrels of oil a day, that's huge. that amount has changed significantly since then. what's their current production load and what's the best way to cut into that revenue stream? >> so the best estimates of currently production are around 30 to 40,000 barrels per day. at least that was before october, the major air strikes tidal wave 2 started. the number of ways to cut into their revenue is, stopping them from producing, then stop them from moving that oil, that was the air strikes were about, they couldn't move the oil beyond the trucks. other than that, stop them from smuggling the oil to the potential buyers, the buyers could be anywhere. a large portion of their cells are within their territory, very difficult to stop. and then sales to syria and
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beyond their territory to other countries. >> back in august 2014 when the oil strikes began, back then oil was over $100 a barrel. now it's only $35 a barrel. what kind of impact is that having? if you buy oil from i.s.i.l. you pay at substantial discount than you would in the regular market. >> absolutely. when the global oil price fell, so did the price they would receive for their own oil. refined products are also subject to world pricing. whatever they sell inside their territory is a little bit different because that's delinked. they basically have a monopoly. but threefn there ar even theree connections to the world price. it also hurt iraq a great deal, it wasn't a one way bet against
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i.s.i.s. >> family members who have been killed, you are right if enough family members are captured and killed these prices start to add up. tell me how that works into a targeted strategy of defeating i.s.i.l. >> sure. that's a side benefit to a targeted strategy. what we did find both when they were al qaeda in iraq and then islamic state of iraq and then when they were i.s.i.l. they basically have a promise. they have a payroll and they continue to pay family. payroll was based on family size. they continued to pay families if a person was detained or killed. what we saw was that their payroll costs were mounting throughout the 2000s when u.s. operations became very large. so they either stopped paying, that would hurt morale, they are breaking their promises to their members' families and it also hurt operations when they were running low on money. we found a statistical
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relationship between money they spent to a certain area and level of attacks in that area. so as we degrade their ability to raise money, we are also degrading their ability to conduct operations and hurting morale, which the members are finding their primaries are not good. >> the lower price of oil, the fact that ransom is a smaller part of things, the limits we are trying to put on money going in and out, and there are changes within the gulf states that make it a crime to send money to i.s.i.l. fighters, are they substantially degraded from where they are a year ago? >> they are degraded, i wouldn't say substantially degraded. air strikes, before them it was estimated they were making as much as $40 million a month. let's say even if these air
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strikes cut them to $20 million a month, and we really don't know the overall effect, that's still a lot of money and probably more than they are paying out in payroll. the oil is just one piece, whatever we do with oil has not touched the money they raise from extortion and taxation. we have degraded them, they have less money but ultimately the way to cut their finances is to take back territory. >> howard shatz is a senior economist at the and corporation and professor at the party and graduatrandgraduate school. >> coming up i'll talk about if drastic measures could yield the moss dramatic results. nacent way. >> i did two tours in iraq, when i came back i couldn't find a job. >> fighting to survive. ar fighting to survive. t 9:30
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eastern. >> the fight against i.s.i.l. has dominated recent presidential debates. on the republican side, ted cruz calls to carpet bombing the territory. and be ben carson wonders, is the strike quad adequate. for more on the administration's approach al jazeera america's
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national security correspondent jamie mcintire joins me from washington. jamie, good to see you. let's begin with the president's plan, coalition air power. a small number of special operations forces and help for local forces. give us a report card if you will on the u.s. fight against i.s.i.l. for 2015. how would you grade it and why? >> reporter: well, i guess so far as giving a grade, would i give it for satisfaction a c minus d plus. for effectiveness, maybe a higher grade maybe a b plus it's not perfect and i say that because this is a very oven satisfying strategy. i don't know how many times i saw members of congress go up to the hill and basically urge very frustrated members of congress to be patient, that this strategy is going to work in the end. but i have to say a year into this now it's just beginning to get the sense of maybe we're turning the corner, maybe the strategy of squeezing i.s.i.l. on the ground, gradually denying them territory, enabling those
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local forces especially now that we're seeing that the iraqi forces are able to do more in their own backyard, in ramadi. gives you some indication that perhaps this strategy is beginning to produce the desired result. >> jamie talk to me about two months ago the president authorized the sending of several dozen special operation forces ground troops if you will to syria. the administration said at the time that they would advise local forces fighting the islamic state and not play odirect combat role. so what role are they playing in this fight? >> well, you know a lot of people when they heard they were going to go to syria and fight i.s.i.l, what could 50 or fewer special operations forces could do against i.s.i.l? i think they also had the idea if these force he were not on the front lines they would be calling in air strikes or providing tactical support. what they are really doing on
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the ground there is looking for forces that the u.s. could or should support. the peshmerga forces in the north, u.s. has a long relationship with them but they have no rich with these troops with these fighters in syria. they needed to get people on the ground, look people in the eye, try figure out who's worth supporting who should we drop ammunition to. >> right. >> who is actually effective on the ground and who by the way might not be changing sides at the time of battle turns. >> whether these critics are out there saying, we don't know who to give the information too, are you talking about 50, there a likelihood that more would be sent? >> if they are able to find the troops that the u.s. is support and they are having success and the u.s. can give them ammunition and help them more, the u.s. could send in more special operations forces. what they're doing in iraq which is occasionally partnering with
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them on special raids. right now the u.s. is not at the level of comfort with the fighters in syria as it is with the level of fighters in iraq. >> let's talk about cost. the pentagon says we have spent more than $5.3 billion, that roughly comes out to $11 million a day, a lot of money. and americans are wondering what has all the money accomplished. let's think about this in terms of what the military targets have been and how successful they have been. >> i don't have to tell you ali that war is an expensive business. a new aircraft carrier is moving into the region. an aircraft carrier even when it's not at war, costs about $1 million a day to operate. some of the aid on the ground, you know the u.s. has had more than 8,000 air strikes, coalition air strikes since the starts of this. and they've become more and more effective as the u.s. has gotten
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better intelligence. we have seen more and more strikes that go against i.s.i.l.'s oil operations not just those fuel trucks they bombed, but to cut off the flow of funds. these air strikes have been very effective in enabling the troops ton ground move. the only way they could make progress. you can see that because the contrast is in afghanistan where the u.s. is not providing air strikes to local afghan forces fighting taliban, they are having a heck of a time, they are not seeing the kind of progress as the forces in iraq. >> the actions since 2014 are starting to pay dividends but there is nothing about criticism from obama's own party and the republicans, is it staying the
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course with respect to a certain strategy? >> it certainly looks like it. it certainly are looks like there will only be minor changes to the strategy, the liberation of ramadi and fallujah and mosul, if there's progress in raqqa. as far as the presidential campaign goes, i think anybody would do this, there might be lots of ideas floated out, but once that candidate is actually in the office of president and has to make those decisions a lot of times it looks different. not unusual for some of the items floated during the campaign and touted during the campaign to be discarded after the oath of office. >> it's fascinating to me, at these debates, because i go to them all, wow, that's the first time i've ever heard that item. any administration where there's a war of some sort going through, and thought through
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these veenlts. these eventualities. that's our show. the news continues on al jazeera america. >> on "america tonight," who sacrificed for those holiday gifts? there's pain hidden behind the screen. >> tell me what happens to the fingers on your right arm and your left hand. >> maintain's christof putzel exposes the rirvegz that the workers take to give us the goods. >> thanks for joining us i'm joie chen. think sweatshop and you will likely imagine unsafe working conditions

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